Chef Lucía Campos’ tricks for cooking with EVOO (and ajoblanco recipe)

One more year, Jaén, Inner Paradiseopens the inscriptions for a new edition to be held during the Congress of San Sebastián Gastronomika 2022, which will take place between the 2nd and 5th of next October.

The Diputación de Jaén returns to call this International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cooking Award which celebrates its 19th edition this year.

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On the occasion of this new competition, we wanted to interview the chef Lucía Campos, winner of the 2021 edition of the Jaén, Paraíso Interior competition. picual royal recipe, pear, manzanilla olives and caramel.

The chef at Cancook restaurant tells us about the importance of EVOO in the kitchen, gives us some of her best tricks with this essential ingredient in our country… and A simple and straightforward recipe to make at home.

What has being the winner of the 2021 edition translated into? What does it mean on a personal and professional level to achieve this title?

On a personal level, pride, satisfaction and reward for all the work of a lifetime and the drive to continue along the same lines. On a professional level, I have seen it reflected above all in the media projection, recognition of my colleagues, friends and family.

What advice would you give to chefs who want to present themselves this year when preparing their proposals?

Put all your desire, effort and above all your passion into what you do and the proposal you will present.

Lucia Campos-Suarez
Instagram Lucia Campos Suarez

You will be the jury in this edition. What requirements do you consider essential for a winning recipe?

Taste, technique, creativity, surprise and execution.

About your royal winning recipe of picuals, pear, manzanilla olives and caramel… how was Jaén integrated into this proposal? What is the greatest potential of this city in terms of gastronomy?

Warm, seasonal flavors that combine pears, caramel, yogurt and olives with the fresh, acidic, astringent and bitter nuances of extra virgin olive oil. Jaén is the largest producer of extra virgin olive oil in the world. All this translates into an inner city with an impressive gastronomic culture, and this does not happen anywhere else. As it is the cradle of the star product that Spain carries with its flag.

What does extra virgin olive oil mean to you in the kitchen? What advantages does it have compared to other types of oil?

The first, of course, is its highest quality. A fetish product for me in almost all my recipes. At the taste level, it is a product with a lot of personality, but very versatile. On a nutritional level, there is no other like it.

In which dish would you never use an oil other than EVOO and in which dish would you never use EVOO?

I would use it to emulsify vegetable creams after they are finished, whether hot or cold: gazpacho, salmorejo, zucchini, mushrooms… And I wouldn’t use it to make flavored oils, for example, from herbs , spices.. since for this use it is advisable to choose more neutral oils that better absorb aromas and flavors.

Lucia Campos Suarez
Instagram Lucia Campos Suarez

Tell us what makes each of the 8 types of EVOO in the competition unique and in which “walk around the house” recipe you’d use each one.

Answer 1

1. Balcony of Guadalquivir for a double anchovy and boquerón toast with butter or a few gildas for its balsamic tones and some fruit.

two. Dominus Early Vintage It has hints of field herbs, it would go perfectly with a good quail or partridge in a citrus pickle.

3. Picual Essential does not leave you indifferent. I find it perfect with a cold green tomato, avocado, cucumber and mint soup.

Four. Olibaeza it’s sweet and a little spicy at the end. A safe bet would be mango dressed in green olive Greek yogurt stracciatella.

5. Gold Bailen It is herbaceous and has many nutty notes. It is incredible with cheese dishes such as a good cheesecake or a goat salad with berries and macadamia nuts.

6. Golden magnasur It’s great with some herb-roasted tomatoes and minced anchovies, olives and capers, for its hints of green tomato, artichoke and light spiciness on the finish.

7. Premium Organic Melgarejo It is perfect for making cream with extra virgin oil and Calanda peaches. Its sweet and fresh notes will give an incomparable touch.

8. The essential olive It is fruity, slightly sweet and with hints of tomato. A good ajoblanco with white grapes and cockles will be great.

XIX International Cuisine Award with EVOO Jaén Paraíso Interior
Provincial Council of Jaen

Raw or cooked? How do you prefer to use EVOO?

Always raw and if I make it cooked below 40°C.

Is it okay to reuse an already cooked oil? Can you give us any advice on how to do it?

It depends on what, maybe for frying the same type, it is interesting (and economical) as long as you separate the vegetable, meat and fish oil. Oil from candied green peppers or potato oil for tortillas are great for stir-fries as they get an extra flavor.

Can you give us an easy recipe in less than 30 minutes to make at home with EVOO from Jaén?

White garlic

Ajoblanco apples with berries, white grapes and toasted almonds

for 4 people


  • 250 grams of bread crumbs from the day before
  • 600 grams of water
  • An apple without the skin
  • 130 grams of EVOO and 50 grams for decoration
  • apple cider vinegar and salt to taste
  • 200 grams of white grapes
  • 150 grams of canned grains
  • 100 grams of fried/toasted almonds

Step by step

  1. Make the cream and pass it through a sieve

    Mix the water, apple, bread, olive oil and salt in an American glass for 5 minutes until it becomes a thin and homogeneous cream. Pass the result through a fine sieve.

  2. Add the ground almonds

    Grate the fried/toasted almonds over the cream.

  3. Garnish and finish with EVOO

    Place the grapes and cockles decorating the cream and finish by adding a few drops of EVOO between them.

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